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Big Brother to Watch Over Medical Marijuana in Colorado?

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #652)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Colorado is proposing to enact a medical marijuana tracking system in which everything from marijuana grows to patient purchases to the manufacture of pot brownies would be under constant remote video surveillance where agents could monitor it all. The proposal is giving medical marijuana advocates the creeps.

The proposal comes in the form of draft regulations promulgated by the Department of Revenue's new Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. The division was created by legislation passed this year and signed by Gov. Bill Ritter (D) on June 7. Its purpose is to strengthen oversight over Colorado's growing medical marijuana industry.

The system would be the first in the country to track medical marijuana "from seed to sell," Julie Postlethwait, a spokeswoman for the division told the Denver Channel. The goal would be to prevent people using forged medical marijuana cards and to quickly track down pot contaminated with mold or marijuana food protects that are tainted. "We want to protect the patient. This is medicine," Postlethwait said.

"This in the long run legitimizes and helps the industry," she added. "They're caregivers. They want to provide the best quality medicine out there."

But medical marijuana advocates criticized the proposal as costly and overly intrusive.

"There is no conceivable justification for this system," said Robert Chase, a leader of the Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers. "It goes beyond the systems that we use to control opiate narcotic drugs, which are demonstrably much, much more dangerous. There are valid concerns about the Big Brother issue," Chase said.

Chase pointed to other provisions in the draft proposal requiring medical marijuana to be transported in tamper-proof containers and to make growers and dispensary employees provide fingerprints at each step in the supply chain.

"It's a highly intrusive process of having to give fingerprints and being under constant video surveillance. It invokes George Orwell's '1984,'" Chase said. "The whole thing is preposterous," he said.

The draft regulations are not a done deal; indeed, they are very much a work in progress. The division has formed a working group of medical marijuana growers, providers, caregivers, patients, doctors, and law enforcement to continue to work on the draft rules.

The Medical Marijuana Work Group will hold hearings on October 4 and 21 in Lakewood. The public can attend, but not address, those hearings.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


This is the problem with the fallacy of Medical Marijuana Laws. Now don't get me wrong, I know all of the curative and medicinal uses for cannabis but what these laws have created is the intrusion of government into the personal choices of individuals.

Like gun laws, the best law for marijuana would be no tracking, no doctors precript, and above all, no laws over its production and use. Let the market, which has produced a safe, effective and ever improved product continue unabated and the consumers choice will be the regulator.

By using the back door of medical,(and come on people, how many actually use it for medical purposes vs recreational) it establishes that the state has a seat at the table with how this drug is despensed and controlled. With government being so open to political panderings from drug companies and the medical lobby, I'm sure they would rather have it restricted as much as possible.

Who is better at controlling quality, those in the clinics and grow ops, or some bureaucrat miles away at a desk?

Sat, 10/02/2010 - 10:59am Permalink
Chuck (not verified)

Haven't these politicians realized that they're just making us mad at this point? These states have already voted yes for this stuff. Let them be. Pretty soon none of these politicians will have jobs, I know I won't vote for anyone who supports this garbage.

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 4:34pm Permalink
Bongstar420 (not verified)

Why don't we see these systems with pharmaceutical and food production facilities all the way up the chain of production? Why don't we see this happening to the State officials? Why arn't they under constant video surveillance by officials? We should promote that all officials must be on publicly displayed surveillance systems if this is the case. This does not produce anything but a false sense of security and increased acceptance of faceless officials watching private conduct without accountability on their part. Sounds like a large pile of BS in the progress of accumulating on the ground to me!

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 5:31pm Permalink
Doug Johnson (not verified)

I mean, so what about the surveillance?  Go do something simple like check into a motel and see what kind of personal information you are required to provide.  Our government needs to collect evidence of all those crimes you're going to commit.  Well, even if you don't commit crimes, the government still needs evidence to use against you.

Myself, I've got to jump through all sorts of hoops to get my driver's license renewed because someone that lived in Chicago with a similar name and identical birth date didn't pay a $70 traffic fine 21 years ago.  I've never lived in Chicago and lived in Arizona 21 years ago.  My choices are to pay the fine or prove that it wasn't me that committed this heinous crime.  Can a lot of people prove that they weren't in Chicago 21 years ago?  Times are changing, but you are now guilty until you prove your innocence here in Utopian America.

Sun, 10/10/2010 - 2:31am Permalink
Dennis (not verified)

i read the draft and there is nothing in there about using finger prints at every point of the supply change. so i'm curios as to what you all are talking about. maybe check your sources.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:25am Permalink

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